When TT Catering Solutions project manager Angela Turner got the call that popular Manchester pizzeria and restaurant Puccini’s required the kitchen for its new venture in nearby Ashton-under-Lyne to be designed, she didn’t have the luxury of a blank piece of paper to work with.
Tamworth-based TT took over the design and build work from another party, which had actually got as far as putting some of the facilities in place before its involvement on the job abruptly ended.
“A number of services were in and the canopy had also been put in place, so I had to completely design the new lay-out around those, which created more of a challenge,” says Turner.
The owners of the restaurant didn’t let her see the designs of the previous incumbents, so Turner had to come up with new solutions from scratch. It took 10 drawings before Puccini’s agreed on the final design, with the operator paying exceptional attention to detail in the quest to build the perfect production space.
Given that the original Puccini’s in Swinton has been hailed as the best Italian in Manchester — it also remains popular with footballers and TV stars — the owners wanted to make sure kitchen staff had access to the latest commercial cooking equipment when it came to recreating the experience in Ashton-under-Lyne.
The most significant aspect of the job involved getting all the fabrication work done, as that provided much of the framework around which the rest of the kitchen was based.
TT brought in Blackburn-based Inox Fabrications to complete the task. It made the fabrication to measure, even modifying some of the infrastructure during the course of the project to ensure that the client’s needs and specifications were fully met.
“The fabrication had to be totally bespoke because of the storage and the flow of the kitchen. It had to be tailored to facilitate the operation rather than the operation being tailored to suit standard equipment. The way that Puccini’s does everything is cook to order and a la carte,” says Turner.
It was also important that the kitchen was designed in such a way to allow chefs to work effectively in pairs when they need to and ensure that the most popular menu items can be delivered quickly and efficiently.
“Italian restaurants are completely different to ordinary hotel restaurants,” notes Turner. “Of course, every restaurant is different, but this one expects to have a lot of people just coming in for pizza so there is a section for that, as well as sections for pasta starters, cold starters and then the hot stuff. The kitchen had to be laid out to reflect that.”
The menu at the new Puccino’s is based on the same theme as its sister location in Swinton, and so Turner went about specifying the equipment she felt would deliver the best performance for the client’s budget.
For a start, a Falcon Dominator Plus suite was selected to provide the restaurant with burners, solid tops, fryers, a pasta boiler and grill, equipping it with the cooking versatility it demanded. No Italian restaurant is complete without a giant pizza oven and for Puccini’s that comes in the form of a Morretti.
“We recommended that because they use a similar one in Swinton,” explains Turner. “It also meant that new chefs who were being trained could become au fait with the equipment in order to provide more or less the same menu in the new restaurant,” she adds.
The other significant addition from a pizza production point of view was a Blizzard pizza prep counter — supplied by Pentland Wholesale — that met the exact size specifications that the restaurant required. However, as the owners didn’t want a marble countertop, Inox covered the surface with stainless steel ahead of the fit-out.
The majority of refrigeration, including a five-door counter model, was supplied by Williams, as well as some individual units from Foster, all of which were selected with the kitchen footprint in mind. Front-of-house refrigeration from Interlevin to display the sweet menu was also brought in, while commercial coffee machine maker Fracino supplied a 2 group Espresso machine.
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With all the heavy duty equipment in place, Turner also helped Puccini’s source the sundry items it required, from saucepans and chopping boards to first aid books and cups and saucers.
“I was really tested on this project but I have to say it is one of the best projects I have ever done,” admits Turner. “I got a lot of satisfaction from seeing how pleased Puccini’s were with the end result.”
To see pictures of the fit-out click here.
Making sure the kit fits
TT Catering Solutions insists that the smooth installation of Puccini’s restaurant kitchen was partly down to its policy of methodically processing all the equipment before it is despatched to site.
Angela Turner, project manager at TT, explains: “Most companies will have separate items of equipment delivered to site. One day you will have the warewashing arrive, the next day the refrigeration. But if one thing doesn’t come in on time it can create a domino effect and the whole project gets impacted.
"TT has always insisted that all the equipment comes to us the week before, so that it can be put together in the warehouse and we can check the whole kitchen. If something hasn’t come in we can chase it up. Then the following week the items are delivered to site by the drivers who unpack it and put it all into place for the engineers to connect everything up.”
TT’s sister company, Caterline, usually carries out the installation aspect of projects, but due to a hectic schedule during the time of the Puccini’s fit-out the company contracted the work to Salford-based Archer Catering Systems, which had actually worked with the restaurant in the past.
“We had to draw upon all our expertise from design and supply through to installation and ongoing support,” comments Turner, reflecting on the different components that made up the kitchen project.
“Our knowledge of and access to core equipment, refrigeration, bespoke fabrication and sundry items, along with innovation and an eye for detail, undoubtedly led to the success of this project.”
Catering equipment from a variety of manufacturers was used during the kitchen fit-out at Puccini’s in Ashton-under-lyme, including:
Blizzard (Pentland) Refrigerated pizza prep
Fracino Coffee machine
Inox Fabrication Bespoke fabrication
Moretti Pizza oven
Interlevin Display refrigeration